Reading: Romans 4: 1-5 & 13-17
Today’s passage centers around the faith of Abraham. He obediently followed God’s call and lead in his life multiple times. For me, the ultimate test of Abraham’s faith came up on the mountain as God instructed him to sacrifice his son. It was the only son born to a very aged Abraham and Sarah and God was leading him to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice. Abraham’s actions demonstrated great faith and trust in God, not only in this case, but over and over again. Because of this belief in and trust in God, “it was credited to him as righteousness”.
Paul is wrestling in today’s text with the concept of faith based upon belief and grace versus faith based upon the Law and works. Paul argues that it is our faith that makes us righteous and he holds Abraham up as the example. Paul argues that the Law, or following all the rules for us today, cannot make us right before God. His logic is that we cannot possibly keep all of the Law all of the time, therefore, the Law can only ultimately bring condemnation. Paul puts forth the idea that only when we live by faith are we made righteous because only then does grace come into play. Only when our salvation rests solely upon God’s free gift of grace are we able to claim the promise of eternal life.
As we consider this example, we must ask ourselves: do we live a life of faith or do we try to live a life of following the rules? In our day to day lives, do we seek God’s will and guidance or do we live a faith that entails checking off the boxes as we do this or that? Abraham demonstrated a faith that I find hard to fathom. Could I lead my son up the mountain knowing that God was calling me to offer him up as a sacrifice when we got to the top? It is a faith often outside of my understanding. Yet it is precisely the type of faith that we are called to. It is a faith that allows God to work through us instead of us working for God. There is a huge difference between God leading my life and me leading my life.
Lord, help me to be more open to your leading, to your guidance, to your ways. Make me a willing and obedient servant, work through me, great Jehovah!